Man Faces Federal Charge For Attempting To Breach Cockpit Before Jumping Out Of Taxiing Airplane At LAX
(CNN) — A man is facing a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew after attempting to breach a cockpit and jumping out of a departing airplane at the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, officials said.
It’s the latest in a series of incidents on planes over the past year that prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to extend harsher punishments for unruly passengers. More than 3,000 reports of unruly passengers have been issued to the FAA this year, many of which include reports of passengers refusing to comply with mask mandates.
Luis Antonio Victoria Dominguez, a 33-year-old Mexican national of La Paz, Mexico, is facing the charge after the incident, which happened Friday on a SkyWest Airlines flight that was scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California confirmed to CNN.
Shortly after the United Airlines flight 5365 pushed away from the gate, Victoria Dominguez allegedly “sprinted” to the cockpit, banged on the door, and tried to access the restricted space, a federal criminal complaint said.
After failing to gain entry, he then managed to partially open an emergency exit which caused the emergency slide to deploy, the complaint said.
A passenger attempted to restrain Victoria Dominguez, but he broke free and jumped to the tarmac where he was quickly detained by airport police officers, according to an FBI affidavit cited in the U.S. Attorney’s statement.
Victoria Dominguez missed the slide when he jumped and later underwent surgery for a broken leg, authorities said. “Once Victoria Dominguez landed on the tarmac, he began crawling away from the aircraft. His right leg appeared broken,” the affidavit said.
He now faces the charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. He is expected to make an initial appearance in court later this week.
CNN has not determined if Victoria Dominguez has legal representation.
No motive was given for his actions.
Earlier this month, the FAA said it had identified potential violations of federal rules in 465 of the 3,000 cases reported. The agency began enforcement action in 57 cases. In a normal year, it has taken action in as many as 150 cases of passengers violating FAA rules.
In January, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson launched a zero-tolerance policy against passenger misbehavior after the agency observed an increase in reports. Officials had to start tracking the number of reported instances of unruly passengers — something they never did before.
Dickson told CNN in May he was concerned about the increase in unruly passengers and the safety risk the problem poses to flights.
“The aviation system that we have in the United States is the safest form of travel in human history,” Dickson said. “That’s what this zero-tolerance policy is all about — to make sure that we get this situation under control.”
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